By Hannah Reich Berman

Despite enjoying relatively good health, every morning I down more than a dozen pills. Fourteen pills, to be precise! A few are prescription meds that I need for one condition or another, but most of them are vitamins, one is a probiotic, and another is that old standby, calcium. A calcium pill is something that most women are familiar with. Members of the fairer sex, those beyond a certain age, are often advised to take calcium.

The average person–not that anyone who shlugs down 14 pills each morning can be considered average–delicately places one or two pills in her mouth and takes a gulp of water each time she wants to swallow a pill. But not everyone does it that way. My method is vastly different: I take all of my 14 pills at once. This has nothing to do with being lazy. I am not lazy. What I am is impatient, too impatient to repeat the process seven times or, heaven forbid, 14 times. No one-or-two-pills-at-a-time for me. I place all of my pills on a tablespoon, take a huge gulp of water, quickly throw my head back, and swallow the lot of them.

On rare occasions, one or two pills might remain in my mouth longer than they should, which leaves a bitter taste. It’s not a big deal; I just quickly take another swig of water and all is well. As strange as this might sound, I have been doing things this way for years, and it works for me–most of the time!

But nothing in life is perfect, and every now and then I run into a spot of trouble. Contrary to what one might suspect, the trouble has nothing to do with occasionally getting a bitter taste in my mouth. And it has nothing to do with choking. I swallow and I don’t choke. The trouble is of a different nature. Since all 14 pills are on the spoon before going into my mouth, if one should happen to drop off the spoon, I am in trouble. It has happened. I hear a ping sound and I know that one pill has hit the floor. The problem is that I never know which pill it was.

Taking one pill at a time would simplify matters, because if that one missed my mouth, fell off the spoon, and landed on the floor, I would know which pill it was. I might not be able to find it, but I would know which one went AWOL, and all I would need to do would be to take another pill from the bottle. But when there are more than a dozen pills on the spoon at one time, I have no idea which one got away.

I don’t know about anyone else’s pills, but mine appear to have a life of their own. They hide! I can sweep the floor to my heart’s content but I rarely find that little sucker. I move the table as well as the chairs, but it’s never there. I sweep carefully under the cabinets and I search all over the kitchen, but I have no luck. So I am left to assume that it has rolled under the stove or the refrigerator and won’t be seen again in my lifetime. And I can’t take another pill since I have no idea which one I missed. This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. It happened last week.

I swept the floor thoroughly, but no dice! I got down on my hands and knees. That was no mean feat, but I did it. Getting down wasn’t the problem. Getting up again was another story. And after all that effort, I still had no luck. My next move was to jab a yardstick under the stove and then under the refrigerator and listen for the sound of a pill or a capsule moving around. I didn’t expect to get it, because I realized that I would probably be pushing the pill further in. But still, I tried. My method was to give the yardstick a good, wide “side-sweep” to try to get it out into the open. It didn’t work. The pill was nowhere to be found. There was nothing else to do but hope that it wasn’t one of the more important pills that I take. I gave a mental shrug, went about my business, and within minutes had forgotten all about it.

All that happened eight days ago. My kitchen floor is swept daily, either by me or by the lady who comes in to clean for me. And the floor has been washed since that day as well. Still, no pill. Nothing! Gornisht! Nada! Until today.

I had a mini-accident this morning. It wasn’t a terribly serious accident; I spilled my early-morning coffee and jumped back in shock as the hot liquid splashed down my robe and all over my feet and slippers. Fortunately, although it was hot, it wasn’t scalding and I didn’t get burned. But I kicked off my slippers, which had gotten wet, and then proceeded to quickly dry my feet with a paper towel. Then I wiped the floor, picked up the slippers, and, carrying them to the bathroom to wash them off, I walked barefoot out of the kitchen. That was when I found the missing pill!

Just as I got to the doorway that leads from the kitchen to the hallway, I felt a sharp pain in the sole of one foot. I had stepped on something hard, and I knew immediately what that something was. The missing pill was no longer missing! It had wedged itself under the doorway saddle, and I had missed it, the cleaning lady had missed it, the broom missed it, and the mop missed it. But, without a shoe or a slipper, my defenseless foot found it!

It might have been a hint. It was a eureka moment. Maybe that was how I was meant to find it. So the next time I lose a pill, I won’t bother to immediately sweep or wash the floor. Nor will I bother shoving a yardstick under the kitchen appliances or doing anything as strenuous as getting down on all fours (and then up again). I will simply remove my slippers or my shoes and walk barefoot around the room. That’s just the way it is! v

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.


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